Working Towards Recovery: Returning to Work After Rehab

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Returning to work after addiction treatment can be daunting without proper preparation. Feeling nervous, stressed, or excited when beginning the next chapter is normal and expected. Remember the effort you have made to achieve sobriety — it’s a remarkable achievement that not everyone experiences. The good news is that you don’t have to face this transition alone.

There are resources and strategies that you can use to make your journey back to work after treatment as smooth as possible. These tools can help you focus on your recovery and long-term well-being. Remember, you’ve already come so far and should be proud of yourself for taking this step toward a brighter future.

To help you during this transitional period, consider the following tips:

Establishing a Supportive Network of Resources

Some people do not understand the disease of addiction and the healing power of effective treatment, resulting in unintended stigma. However, fostering relationships with colleagues who offer support and encouragement can help you stay focused on both your job and recovery.

Some laws protect individuals with disabilities, including those recovering from substance use disorders. Knowing your employee rights with programs such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can help you stay informed on current policies and laws during this challenging time. By understanding your rights, you can advocate for yourself and ensure you receive the accommodations and support you need to reintegrate into the workforce successfully. If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), they can provide counsel and ongoing support.

Taking Care of Yourself at Work

At this point of your journey, you may be very familiar with your triggers. The workplace may also be a trigger, especially if you have previously used drugs or alcohol in that environment or experienced work-related stressors.

It’s important to have a plan in place for how to manage these triggers and avoid relapse. Having a plan in place if you are triggered can help you move past it. For instance, reaching out to a sponsor, supportive family member, or friend. Another strategy is to take a break and practice self-care through journaling, meditation, or going for a brief walk. Remember to take things one step at a time and celebrate the small victories along the way.

Ensuring Consistent Aftercare Support

Transitioning from rehab to work can be challenging, but a solid aftercare treatment plan can make a big difference. Your aftercare plan is designed to help you stay on track with your recovery and minimize the risk of relapse. It’s important to rely on the resources available, such as outpatient treatment, support groups and alumni gatherings, which can provide ongoing support and help you stay accountable in your journey toward recovery. Remember, your aftercare plan is there to support you and help you navigate this major life transition with greater ease.

Remember, recovery is an ongoing process where you continue to work on a program outside of treatment, such as attending Twelve Step meetings, outpatient therapy, or other continuing care programs. Ongoing participation in a recovery program is essential to long-term sobriety. At Valley Hope, our team works with each patient (and employers when appropriate) to build a successful long-term recovery plan that serves as a road map after leaving treatment.

Explore Valley Hope’s blog for more information on stigma and addiction in the workplace, EAPs, and for extensive resources and information for loved ones, families, and the recovery community.

If you feel like you need help immediately, the Valley Hope team is available 24/7 at (800) 544-5101, or find a Valley Hope rehab near you. If you or a loved one are ready to stop drinking, call now and begin your journey to a healthy, happy life in recovery.